The gym inside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Frederick turned yellow Wednesday.

Hundreds of yellow bins. Dozens of people wearing yellow shirts. And to top it off, outside of the gym door, 15 yellow school buses.

There was a flurry of activity by those in yellow United Way shirts, joined by those in red ones from Wells Fargo or other colors, all volunteers helping to sort school supplies as part of the annual Stuff the Bus.

Binders, crayons, notebooks, were stacked on tables. Backpacks lined the back of the gym. All the supplies will be distributed over the next couple of weeks to students who need them. Leftovers are donated to the schools.

Stuff the Bus is coordinated by the United Way of Frederick County and Frederick County Public Schools. The organizations run the school supply drive because they want to help students start the school year fresh and prepared, said Pam Miller, the community agency school services coordinator with FCPS.

Last year, the drive collected 88,000 school supplies with about 7,500 students receiving items between distribution and leftovers, she said.

This year, 103 businesses were participating in the drive, but a final tally of donated items was not available Wednesday.

“It is growing every year,” Miller said.

It is the 11th year of Stuff the Bus, said Amanda Holk, director of advancement at the United Way of Frederick County. Those who come to pick up supplies do not need to show proof of need, but they must confirm that the supplies are for FCPS students.

The supplies sorted out in the gym apply to all grade levels. There are Ti-83 calculators for those in high school math classes, as well as binders. A new item was water bottles. Within a week, people around the community donated 1,100 of those, Holk said.

Among the volunteers were employees of Wells Fargo and Showcall. Teens and kids with their parents also came to help. I Believe in Me, a local organization, also sent teens to help, including 13-year-old Bracen Simmons.

“I just like helping,” Bracen said. “If I need help, I’d like help, so I help others.”

He spent Wednesday morning separating folders and putting markers in the right bins.

Vashard Smith, 15, also with I Believe in Me, spent his time unloading buses, which brought supplies from 130 different locations, and sorting the supplies.

“I think it’s good,” he said. “I like that people are giving back to the community.”

For those volunteering with Stuff the Bus, the work does not stop at sorting. Partners from different parts of the county come by to pick up the items they need for students.

The rest of the items will be distributed Thursday at the church.

Follow Heather Mongilio on Twitter: @HMongilio.

Heather Mongilio is the health and Fort Detrick reporter for the Frederick News-Post. She can be reached at

(4) comments


It seems that some learn a lot. Some learn that you can miss more than 20 days a year and still pass, especially since at least one school system in MD has done away with final exams others may have reduced their impact on final grades so it seems to matter more that those days you are in school, if you raise your hand (participation), you'll pass the class regardless of what you actually have or have not learned. BTW, my mother went to a one building school (from K - 12) and part of the time she (and other students) helped serve lunches to get free meals (learning to work for pay and that little is truly free).


Gone are the days when my great-grandmother used to tell me all she needed to carry to school on the first day was a little tiny chalkboard and chalk to write down whatever. Paper was at a premium in those days. And yes, she went to a one room schoolhouse and had a schoolmaster as they were called back then. Now, we have so many supplies and kids don't learn half what she learned in a given year.


There's more history now. More known chemical elements. More knowledge.


I'm not sure there are many more known chemical elements now than even 100 years ago (certainly thousands more known chemicals which are made up from chemical elements), but I get your point. Along the lines of history, MD now wants schools to start teaching kids about LGBTQ and disability rights history. Without adding to the school hours, I wonder what will no longer be taught. Even though I loved history as a subject, I think it would be more important to teach students in MD public schools lessons on finances and economics and life problem solving (budgeting, cost of having children, planning for old age, etc.). Those basic (and even intermediate level) skills do not need a lot of gadgets or volumes of big heavy books. A pencil and paper would go a long way.

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